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David Bowie on location filming ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’
09:55 am


David Bowie
Nicolas Roeg

David Bowie was blasted out of his mind on cocaine during the making of Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell to Earth. It was his first major feature film, but Bowie often didn’t know what was “being made at all.” He worked off his instinct, as he later told Rolling Stone magazine:

“I just learned the lines for that day and did them the way I was feeling. It wasn’t that far off. I actually was feeling as alienated as that character was. It was a pretty natural performance. ... a good exhibition of somebody literally falling apart in front of you. I was totally insecure with about 10 grams a day in me. I was stoned out of my mind from beginning to end.”

The film was adapted from Walter Tevis’ sci-fi novel of the same name, which told the story of a humanoid alien, Thomas Jerome Newton, who arrives on Earth, with hopes to build a spacecraft to help transport the remnant population of his home planet Anthea, which has been almost wiped out by a surface-wide drought.

Bowie starred as the extraterrestrial Newton, sharing the screen with American Graffiti‘s Candy Clark as his human lover, and gave a startling performance—edgy, strange, and slightly disconnected from those around him. Added to Roeg’s distinctive directorial vision, The Man Who Fell to Earth is a memorable and thought-provoking film about addiction, desire and the sometimes unbearable extremity of otherness.
More Bowie on the location from ‘The Man Who Fell to earth’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Arthur Brown filmed by Nicolas Roeg at the 1971 Glastonbury Festival: Hellfire!
04:34 am


Nicolas Roeg
Arthur Brown

Arthur Brown’s monumental 1968 hit “Fire” overshadowed a career that consisted of far more than just one great song. In 1971, Brown formed a group called Kingdom Come and released a mindbender of an album called Galactic Zoo Dossier. The opening track “Internal Messenger” is an epic blast of thundering prog rock that melds perfectly with Brown’s hellfire bombast.

This bewitchingly bizarre clip from the 1971 Glastonbury Festival was beautifully shot by Nicolas Roeg and is available on import DVD here.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Nicolas Roeg “shatters reality into a thousand pieces”—and turns 81!

Since we at Dangerous Minds have previously found ourselves marveling at his film Performance, it only makes sense to salute the wonderful English filmmaker Nicolas Roeg on this, his 81st birthday.

Check out Steve Rose’s great interview in the Guardian with the oft-aloof and prickly director (from which I paraphrase this post’s title), and for heaven’s sake check out the man’s films. He’s currently working on a screen adaptation of Martin Amis’s book Night Train.

Here’s a cool overview, with five themes spotlighted, by the excellent film video-essayist Hugo Redrose.

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
Performance in the making: Donald Cammell & Mick Jagger

Much like a TARDIS, a Borges short story, or Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg‘s 1970 film, Performance, is far bigger on the inside than its outside might indicate.  Starring Mick Jagger, James Fox and Anita Pallenberg, and with its primary action confined to that of a London flat, Performance manages to explore, in its uniquely heady and hypnotic way, such notions as gender, identity and madness as a function of creativity.

In fact, it feels at times like there’s so much going on within Performance‘s 105 minutes, in terms of philosophical scope and ambition, movies like The Matrix or 2001: A Space Odyssey seem almost puny in comparison.

And much like the London flat itself, Performance is a movie to lose yourself in.  Since my preteen exposure to it via the Z Channel, I must have watched it a good dozen times.  Nevertheless, the film continues to surprise me.  Disorient, too.

Part of this was due, no doubt, to the alchemical editing of co-writer/director Donald Cammell, who sadly, took his own life in ‘96.  Cammell’s ultimately tragic life and career is certainly deserving of its own post at some point, but, in the meantime, what follows is Part I of an absolutely worthwhile 3-part documentary on the making of Performance and the controversy that’s dogged the film ever since its release 30 years ago.  Links to the other parts follow below.

Performance in the making, Part II, III

Posted by Bradley Novicoff | Leave a comment